MYRTLE of Tunisia

Botanical :
Myrtus communis L., family of Myrtacées.


Shrub spread on all the Mediterranean littoral.

Origin of the name 

Directly transposed of the Greek name of the plant, " myrtos ".

Description of the plant 

long-lived aromatic shrub, it is always green. Of a height varying from 1 to 3 m, its stems irregular, are drawn up, with an almost smooth russet-red bark; its opposite sheets are very brought closer, hairless, ovals - lancéolées, gleaming, green-dark; the flowers are axillaires, solitary, lengthily pédonculées and odorous; the fruits are bays fleshy, ovoid, of black-bluish, rough and 


the myrtle is a shrub which believes in a spontaneous way in wood, the scrub and the brush Mediterranean, until 800 m of attitude, on grounds being able to be indifferently limestone or silicious, the light and very sunny ground having to be. The essential oil of Myrtle - Tunisia is produced close to Nabeul, at the edge of the golf of Hammamet, starting from plant collected savages in a craft way, with the sickle. 


In Tunisia, the whole plants are collected for their period of flowering, from May to July.


Distillation with the water vapor.

 A word of the traditions

The flower of Myrtle, white, odorous, solitary, was for the Hebrews, the symbol of the beauty, youth, virginity. " That cannot I touch the hand of my friend. She liked to carry a branch of myrtle and the flower of beauty, the pink... " Archiloque VIIème before J.-C 
Venus being itself dressed sheets of myrtle, this plant was devoted to the worship of the goddess by the Greeks. In ovation or small triumph, the crown was not bay-tree, but of myrtle. The Greek courtesans used of various perfumes and onguements: without speaking about scented composition, mixtures were current, the most requested plants were the Myrtle, the mastic tree, Olivier and the Pomegranate. The water of Myrtle distilled, known under the name of "eau of Angel ", fact part of our old toilet waters and remains famous in Italy and Greece. The properties disinfectants of the Myrtle had been noticed by Théophraste, Discoride and Pline. The use of the Myrtle in the pharmacopeia was reactualized by Matthiole in XVIème century. 

Some references on Myrtus communis of Tunisia:
B.M Lawrence "Progress in essential oils : Myrte oil", Perfumer and Flavorist, 1993, 18, n°2, p43.
- E. Guenther, the Essential Oils" Oil of myrtie", 1952, IV, D.Van Nostrand, ed NY, pp363-369
- J.C.Chalchat, P.Ph Garry,"Les huiles de myrte du pourtour méditerranéen", Rivista Italiana EPPOS, (n° spécial/ JIHE Digne les bains), 1992, pp 522-532.

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